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December 09, 2005


oh, and by the way, the europublic and its leaderts don't see eye to eye on everything.

The war in Iraq is inciting and spreading Islamic extremism, making the world a more dangerous place, but the United States and its allies should not withdraw their troops until the country is more stable, European government leaders and analysts say.

There is broad public opposition to the war in many parts of Europe and support for an immediate pullout, fueled in part by a belief that the presence of U.S. troops is itself creating upheaval. Public opinion against the war also is growing because of what many Europeans see as dubious U.S. tactics in the broader fight against terrorism, including the use of secret prisons and abusive interrogations, analysts said.

meanswhile, the NY Times says rendition and torture screwed this up.

The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The Dutch foreign minister Ben Bot, and other EU ministers believe Condi. Shameful. I'm really pissed off about this, and am about to fire off a letter to the editor of de Volkskrant (yes, in Dutch, too, believe it or not).

One reason for universally condemning torture is to raise a very, very high bar for ever using it. Does anyone doubt that if there ever were a case of a bomber who was tortured into actually revealing the site of the bomb, the torturers would not be prosecuted? Or would be pardoned? But unless torture is condemned, it is all too easy, as we have seen, for it to become a routine thing, used on people who are picked up in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong name.

Absolute prohibitions are markers where we think the outer limits of generally acceptable conduct lie. Even though we might be able to conjure exceptional circumstances, this is never where the line is placed. They are always over the line--that is what makes them exceptional. The Bush/Cheney position is yet another example of defining deviancy down, one that will have grave implications both for our people who have the misfortune to be captured by others, and for our society when the torturers come home.

more eurogovt vs europeople.

Not a single minister directly questioned Rice about the existence of secret CIA prisons during an one-hour discussion of the topic at a private dinner here Wednesday. Yet they emerged with a chorus of praise, saying they wanted to put the issue behind them.

The governments may be satisfied, but with the European publics primed to believe the worst about the Bush administration, the debate is not yet settled. Rice faced a difficult rhetorical challenge on her trip -- and it may be some time before it is certain that her message resonated beyond elite circles.

Rice had to signal that U.S. policy had changed -- without directly saying so, since that would appear to confirm the administration once had condoned repulsive interrogation techniques. She needed to suggest European governments okayed the CIA's seizure and transport of terrorism suspects and also had approved the secret prisons, without confirming their existence. In Germany, she had to hint that the CIA had made a mistake in nabbing a German citizen and shipping him to a brutal Afghan jail, without confirming the incident or admitting a mistake.

Brooks on the News Hour singing Rice's praise. He's full of shit as usual. Dana Priest follows on WWIR and describes Rice ans muddled and ineffective.

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